Silicon Valley is falling in love with ads again and tech CEOs are acting weirdly

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This week: Silicon Valley is falling in love with ads … again

Tobias Lütke shopify

The great reopening is here, and with it, the opening of the purse strings for corporate marketing dollars.

That’s good news for tech companies whose business models rely on digital advertising, like Google and Facebook. But there’s a growing number of other tech companies you might not think of as advertising businesses who are looking to get in on the action.

Shopify, the $182 billion Canadian ecommerce powerhouse, is readying a new tool to let merchants tap into its data so they can target ads to potential customers on Facebook and Google, Insider reported.

  • The tool, called Shopify Audiences, could be a first step in a broader push into advertising by Shopify that could ultimately involve selling ads on its own platform.

And Instacart, the grocery delivery startup poised for an IPO, has been quietly building an ad business that Insider’s Tom Dotan reported is on track to generate $1 billion by 2022.

The rush to bolt on advertising business may seem counterintuitive given the well-publicized privacy changes on iPhones that make it tougher for app makers to track users and target ads at them. But those restrictions apply to the data that apps collect by tracking users on iPhones. Platforms with their own audiences can treat their data however they want. In fact, with Apple’s clampdown, the demand for data from the likes of Shopify seems likely to only become more valuable.

If you’re into ads, make sure to sign up for Insider Advertising, the newsletter that brings together our best scoops and reporting on the media and advertising industry.


The summer of tech mogul weirdness

mark zuckerberg facebook

It’s tough to say exactly what’s driving the trend, but the captains of the tech industry have been acting … differently, of late. Maybe it’s the result of 16 months in lockdown, or maybe it’s something in the Silicon Valley water. Whatever the cause, consider these recent incidents:

Who knows what to expect next as the summer heats up.


Snapshot: The $28 million chair

It looks like the kind of thing a sadistic dentist might try to strap you into, but this curious reclining chair and wraparound headrest is actually a coveted seat on Jeff Bezos’ spacecraft – the Blue Origin New Shepard – scheduled for takeoff in T minus 24 days.

blue origin new shepard crew capsule seat

There are six of these seats in the rocket’s capsule, but only four will be filled on the first ride: One for Bezos, one for his brother Mark, and two for a pair of unidentified passengers, one of whom ponied up $28 million for the privilege of the ride.

The seats are positioned next to giant windows so the passengers can relax and enjoy the celestial views. But the ride will be bumpy – the seats are designed to absorb some of the impact as the capsule soars more than 62 miles above sea level, with a force three times stronger than gravity that will pin the passengers to their chairs, and then plummets back down to Earth for a landing in the Texas desert.

One thing missing from the picture is a bucket, which might come in handy since first-time fliers apparently often throw-up during launch or landing.


Quote of the week:

Ashish Toshniwal is the founder and CEO of Y Media Labs, a global digital product and design agency.
Ashish Toshniwal is the founder and CEO of Y Media Labs.

“Almost no company has the resources to combat every social issue, and while making firm stances on social issues is great, creating real change requires diving deeply into a single issue, becoming educated, and taking concrete steps to combat the problem.”

– Ashish Toshniwal, Founder and CEO of Y Media Labs, describing how his company approached the challenge of effectively using its resources to drive social change.


You’re invited: Join us Tuesday at 12 p.m ET for a virtual event presented by PwC, spotlighting the biggest trends CEOs will focus on in the next 12 months. Register here.


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– Alexei

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and other gig companies said California’s Prop 22 would create opportunity for workers of color. A new study says it ‘legalized racial subordination.’

uber lyft protest drivers LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - APRIL 16: A protestor displays a sign as Uber and Lyft drivers with Rideshare Drivers United and the
 Transport Workers Union of America prepare to conduct a ‘caravan protest’ outside the California Labor Commissioner’s office amidst the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. The drivers called for California to enforce the AB 5 law so that they may qualify for unemployment insurance as the spread of COVID-19 continues. Drivers also called for receiving back wages they say they are owed. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Drivers in California sued Uber and Lyft, claiming the companies owe them $630 million in back wages.

  • Gig companies said labor law exemptions would create better opportunities for workers of color.
  • Instead, California’s Prop 22 “legalized racial subordination,” a new research paper argues.
  • The law worked like 1930s “wage codes” that paid workers in mostly minority industries less.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Last year, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Uber-owned Postmates spent a record $203 million to convince California voters to pass Proposition 22, a company-authored ballot measure that let them avoid paying for new benefits the state had recently extended to their workers.

The companies said Prop 22, which created a new class of workers subject to different labor laws, would be a boon for workers of color and immigrants, who make up the vast majority of their drivers and delivery people.

But a forthcoming research paper by UC Hastings law professor and gig economy expert Veena Dubal argues that, despite the companies’ promises that Prop 22 would help achieve racial and economic justice for their workers, the law has had the exact opposite effect.

The new category of workers created by Prop 22, Dubal wrote, “is best understood as a new form of legalized racial subordination-lower wages and benefits for a people of color and immigrant workforce.”

Ride-hailing and food-delivery companies have pitched this hybrid employment status as an innovative “third way” to classify workers that offers the independence of being a contractor and some of the benefits that come with being an employee.

According to Dubal, such proposals are hardly innovative, and in fact look strikingly like discriminatory “wage codes” passed in the 1930s at the request of racist industrialists and plantation owners.

While those laws weren’t explicitly racist, their effects were. By exempting employers with mostly Black workforces, wage codes denied those workers minimum wage, workers’ compensation, unemployment insurance, and unionization rights enjoyed by workers in majority white industries.

Dubal argues that Prop 22 is a recycled version of those racialized wage codes, and that this time around, companies used social justice arguments to persuade people it would have the opposite result.

Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

“There is a long history of systemic racism in traditional hiring practices, which is one of the reasons app-based work and the open access to earning opportunities it provides is valued by so many Californians,” Geoff Vetter, a spokesperson for the Protect App-Based Drivers & Services Coalition, told Insider. (PADS, formerly called Yes on 22, was created and funded by the above companies to generate public support for Prop 22).

Co-opting racial justice language

Last August, Uber plastered 13 major cities with billboards that read: “If you tolerate racism, delete Uber,” timed to its sponsorship of a march commemorating the 1963 March on Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

In September, Lyft aired a commercial featuring Maya Angelou reading her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” to announce its plan to provide subsidized rides to underserved communities during the pandemic.

To gin up support for Prop 22 in California, the Yes on 22 campaign touted endorsements from civil rights groups and sent mailers to voters implying that progressives like Sen. Bernie Sanders supported the ballot measure.

“NAACP California, California State National Action Network, Hispanic 100, Si Se Puede Foundation, Black Women Organized for Political Action, and other trusted social justice leaders and civil rights organizations” supported Prop 22, Vetter told Insider.

The PR campaigns came amid a summer of uprising against police brutality and systemic racism, which in turn put pressure on companies to address racism within their own walls.

But the campaigns faced swift backlash from drivers and driver advocates who called them “gaslighting” and hypocritical.

The “delete Uber” language originally came from angry customers boycotting Uber for sending drivers to JFK airport during a taxi driver strike in protest of Donald Trump’s Muslim travel ban. Lyft cherry-picked Angelou’s words, omitting her lines critiquing exploitative labor practices (while research shows that Uber and Lyft reduce revenue for public transit, on which communities of color disproportionately rely).

The head of the California NAACP chapter stepped down amid revelations that the Yes on 22 paid her consulting firm $95,000. Sen. Sanders and other progressives denounced the both mailers and Prop 22. And Yes on 22 reportedly harassed Dubal, a woman of color, on social media over her opposition to Prop 22 (Vetter told Slate that Yes on 22 condemned the harassment).

But the bigger hypocrisy, Dubal argues, is that the companies were “highlighting particular forms of racial subjugation, while ignoring and profiting from others” – namely, the racial subjugation of their own workers.

“New racial wage code”

During the Great Depression, Congress established the first federal minimum wage law, social security benefits, and union rights in a major win for workers.

But “racist demands” from industrialists and plantation owners led Congress to exclude agricultural and domestic workers – the majority of whom were Black – from those laws, subjecting them to seperate and unequal workplace conditions, according to Dubal.

Those exemptions let companies pay primarily Black workforces 20% to 40% less than the minimum wage, Dubal found, citing research by historian Donna Hamilton, “undermining the economic stability of Black communities for decades to come.”

Prop 22 isn’t much different, Dubal argues, but this time, companies are masking their arguments in racial justice arguments and confusing legalese rather than openly racist terms.

In 2019, California passed AB-5, extending long-standing minimum wage, unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and other protections to gig workers. After regulators and courts rejected claims by Uber and Lyft that AB-5 didn’t apply to them, the industry banded together to pass Prop 22, touting it as a boon to workers.

“Prop 22 guaranteed all drivers would earn at least 120% of minimum wage plus 30 cents per mile compensation toward expenses,” Vetter told Insider, pointing to claims by Uber, DoorDash, and Instacart that drivers are making more under the new law. (Companies’ earnings claims are difficult to evaluate because they refuse to share detailed pay data with the media, regulators, and independent researchers).

Dubal argues the bigger issue is that Prop 22 provides far less than what those workers should already have been receiving as employees under AB-5.

Under Prop 22, companies can: pay workers for only some of the hours they work; refuse to offer overtime pay, sick leave, family leave, and paid time off; cover just a fraction of healthcare costs; reimburse vehicle costs at barely 50% of the rate guaranteed to employees; provide bare-bones insurance that can leave drivers hanging out to dry; and avoid paying into unemployment and disability programs, shifting the burden to taxpayers.

These “second-class” labor protections, as Dubal describes them, become more problematic given the demographics of the workers subject to them. Lyft estimates that 69% of its drivers are people of color; one study estimates that, among all ride-hailing and food delivery workers in San Francisco, 78% are people of color and 56% are immigrants.

Ultimately, with Prop 22, Dubal wrote, Uber, Lyft, DoorDash, Instacart, and Postmates “obscured the way in which the law created a new racial wage code, claiming instead to offer economic opportunities for people of color and concealing the exploitative conditions endemic to those ‘opportunities.'”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Gorillas, the ultra-fast delivery operator from Germany, plans to make its US debut in New York City this month

Gorillas warehouse
Gorillas fulfills grocery orders from a network of “dark” warehouses. The German startup has announced plans to enter the US market.

  • The on-demand grocery delivery startup will launch its service in Brooklyn using bike couriers.
  • Goods such as fresh produce, milk, and cat litter will be delivered in under 10 minutes.
  • ‘We are in love with the model,’ CEO Kağan Sümer told Insider in an exclusive interview.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The red hot on-demand grocery delivery war is about to intensify with the US debut of European startup Gorillas this week.

The ultra-fast delivery operator based in Germany told Insider that it plans to kickstart its 10-minute delivery service in select Brooklyn neighborhoods starting May 30. They’ll be competing directly with Fridge No More, a startup that delivers groceries within 15 minutes to parts of the New York City borough.

Read More: NYC’s Fridge No More specializes in 15-minute grocery deliveries using scooters.

Unlike grocery-delivery operators Instacart, DoorDash, and Uber, Gorillas does not rely on gig workers to fulfill deliveries. Instead, it employs a fleet of bike couriers who deliver goods from strategically located “dark” warehouses.

The delivery fee in the US will cost $1.80 with no minimum purchase required. Consumers can order one item or a basket of goods. However, there are some weight limitations as groceries are delivered by bike. Each warehouse will hold about 2,000 to 2,500 items ranging from fresh produce and milk to cat litter.

“We are in love with the model,” CEO Kağan Sümer told Insider in an exclusive interview. “So if this model is executed the right way, it is going to be transformative in a big way.”

Gorillas
Gorillas employs bike couriers to delivery goods.

Depending on the neighborhood, Gorillas’ delivery choices will also include artisan foods from local businesses. In Brooklyn, Gorillas will carry bagels, ice cream, and chocolate truffles from Black Seed Bagel, OddFellows Ice Cream Co., and Fine and Raw, respectively.

On US launch day, the warehouses in Brooklyn will support the following neighborhoods: Bushwick, East Williamsburg, and parts of Downtown Brooklyn including Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens.

In the coming weeks, Gorillas said it plans to “expand quickly” to other parts of Brooklyn, as well as neighborhoods in Manhattan and Queens.

“We are also eyeing other urban markets and you can expect to see Gorillas launch in other East, Central and West Coast cities by the end of the summer,” a company spokesperson told Insider.

Fridge No More also announced plans to expand beyond Brooklyn after its $15 million Series A funding round earlier this year.

Gorillas, which launched in June 2020, has more than 80 warehouses in 25 cities in Germany, the Netherlands, UK, and France. It plans to expand to Italy later this month, as well.

In Europe, Gorillas competes with Berlin-based Flink, Turkish delivery service Getir, and 10-minute delivery service Dija. Gorillas raised $290 million in a Series B round in March led by hedge fund Coatue.

A highly contested US grocery market

Gorillas enters a crowded US space where multiple e-commerce players like Instacart and startups like Gopuff are competing for market share. These services erupted over the past year as consumer adoption of online ordering accelerated during the pandemic.

Online grocery sales grew 54% in 2020, reaching nearly $96 billion, according to eMarketer. The segment is projected to surpass $100 billion in spending this year.

Instacart is dominating the space and saw huge growth during the pandemic, according to market research firm 1010data. The firm, which analyzes consumer behavior, said Instacart saw a 323% surge in year-over-year sales in 2020.

Read More: Here are the 13 companies competing for dominance of the $100 billion grocery industry.

Still, with business restrictions easing in the US, the meteoric growth of online grocery orders appears to be slowing.

Edison Trends, which tracks online grocery transactions, said e-commerce grocery spending was up 88% in February 2021, compared to February 2020. In March, overall spending increased by just 37%.

This, however, doesn’t concern Sümer. While some consumers will return to “traditional” in-store shopping, Gorillas is betting more people will stick to online grocery shopping because they’ve grown addicted to fast delivery services.

“These people adapted, tasted this convenience, so they will want to keep on,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Companies across the US are offering workers perks for getting the COVID-19 vaccine. Here’s the running list.

covid vaccine card cdc
ICU nurse Megan Tschacher shows off her vaccination card at UC Health Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado on December 14, 2020. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

  • Workers across the US can receive extra pay from their employers for receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Many front-line workers are now able to receive the vaccine in various states and localities.
  • So far, almost 34 million people have received one or more doses of the two-shot immunization.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Companies across the US are joining in the largest-ever vaccination effort by offering employees perks if they receive the two-dose COVID-19 vaccine.

Receiving the vaccine is voluntary, but most companies have strongly encouraged employees get the immunization when it’s their turn. The two-dose vaccines, one from Pfizer and BioNtech and the other from Moderna, were emergency approved in the US in December. Since then, almost 34 million people have received one or more doses, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Many states and localities have begun moving from the first phase of vaccinating health care workers and elderly living in long-term care facilities to immunizing front-line workers. With that, some companies are giving workers two to three hours of paid time off per dose received, and others are offering a stipend for employees who voluntarily get the shots when it’s their turn.

Recently, Publix, Petco and AT&T joined the growing list. Here’s the 18 Insider knows about so far:

Know of a company not on this list that’s offering employees time off, pay, or other perks to get vaccinated? Email Natasha, the reporter of this piece, at ndailey@insider.com.

1. Target

Target
Eduardo MunozAlvarez/VIEWpress via Getty Images

Target is offering workers up to four hours of paid time off to get both shots of the vaccine and will pay for Lyft rides up to $15 for employees needing transportation to and from their appointment.

2. Dollar General

dollar general
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The discount chain was the first major retailer to announce an incentive for workers to get vaccinated. Dollar General employees can earn up to four hours of pay for receiving both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine and will receive extra time off if they have an adverse reaction.

Read more: What’s coming next for COVID-19 vaccines? Here’s the latest on 11 leading programs.

3. Darden Restaurants

olive garden
Patrons enter an Olive Garden Restaurant. Steve Helber/AP Photo

Darden Restaurants, which owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, Bahama Breeze, and The Capital Grille, will offer workers four hours of paid time off, two hours per dose, Bloomberg reported. Employees must show proof of their vaccination to earn the time. The company doesn’t require the shots, but strongly encouraged workers to get them.

4. Shake Shack

shake shack
Noam Galai/Getty Images

The burger-and-shake restaurant chain will give workers 3 hours of pay per shot of the two-dose vaccine. Shake Shack didn’t mandate employees receive the vaccine but “strongly encouraged” it.

5. Noodles & Company

Noodles & Company.
Noodles & Company.

Workers will earn up to four hours of paid time off for receiving the vaccine, the company said in a Feb. 10 statement to Insider. The restaurant strongly recommended employees receive the vaccine but did not require it.

6. Kroger

kroger
Kroger logo is seen at one of their stores in Athens, Ohio. Stephen Zenner/SOPA

The grocer is giving employees a one-time $100 payment for getting the vaccine. On top of that, Kroger said it would give associates an added bonus of a $100 store card and 1,000 fuel points to “thank and reward” workers during the pandemic.

7. Trader Joe’s

Trader Joe's.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The grocery retailer will offer all 50,000 employees two hours of pay per dose and allow for flexible scheduling so workers can make it to appointments.

8. Aldi

Aldi store shop
Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

The German grocer will cover employee costs associated with receiving the vaccine and provide two hours of pay for each of the two doses received.

9. Instacart

GettyImages 1153149270
SOPA Images/Getty Images

The app will offer its US and Canada shoppers, who deliver groceries to customers, a $25 stipend to get vaccinated.

10. Lidl

lidl
Leonhard Foeger/File

The German grocery chain is encouraging workers to get vaccinated by offering its US workers $200 in extra pay if they receive the immunization.

11. McDonald’s

GettyImages 185747043
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The fast food chain is giving workers four hours of pay for receiving the vaccine. Though getting the shots is not required, the company said it will connect employees with groups that can answer questions on the vaccination, Restaurant Business reported.

12. Starbucks

starbucks barista drinks
Richard Drew / AP Photo

The coffee chain is offering workers two hours of pay per dose of the COVID-19 vaccine they receive.

13. Chobani

Chobani Greek Yogurt
Sarah Schmalbruch / INSIDER

Chobani will give workers up to six hours of pay, three per dose, for receiving the vaccine, Human Resource Executive reported.

14. Amtrak

Amtrak
AJ Packer/Shutterstock.com

Amtrak is allowing employees to get vaccinated during work hours, and will pay for two hours off if employees provide proof they received the shot. Workers will also be excused with pay for up to 48 hours if they have side effects.

15. JBS USA and Pilgrim’s

jbs meatpacking greely colorado
The JBS meatpacking facility in Greeley, Colo. Chet Strange for The Washington Post via Getty Images

The meat-packing company is offering employees a $100 bonus incentive if they receive the vaccine voluntarily.

16. Petco

petco groomers
Petco groomers. AP Photo/Richard Vogel

The pet-supply retailer told Insider it would offer employees a one-time payment of $75 for getting vaccinated. Plus, it will give a $25 donation to the Petco Partner Assistance Fund for each person who receives their shots.

17. AT&T

AT&T
People walk past the AT&T store in New York’s Times Square, June 17, 2015. Brendan McDermid/Reuters

AT&T is giving employees up to four hours of paid time off per dose, adding up to eight hours total for anyone who needs the hours to get the vaccine, a spokesperson said in an email to Insider. The company is also giving workers access to Castlight, a tool to help them find available vaccines in their area based on eligibility.

18. Publix

Publix grocery store night
Johnny Louis/Getty Images

Publix will give associates a $125 gift card to the store after they get both doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Workers aren’t required to get the shots at Publix, but they will need to show proof of vaccination. The vaccine is optional, though encouraged, the company said.

19. Walmart and Sam’s Club

Walmart

Beginning May 18, Walmart and Sam’s Club will give its associates below the store manager level $75 for being fully vaccinated, the companies announced on May 14. Workers are required to show their vaccine card in order to receive this bonus.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Boulder shooting victims include 3 employees at the King Soopers grocery store and an Instacart shopper

king soopers employees
Three King Soopers employees died in a deadly shooting.

Three King Soopers grocery store workers and an Instacart worker were among the 10 people killed in a shooting in Boulder, Colorado on Monday.

Police released the victims’ names on Tuesday morning. Among them are three people who worked at the store: Denny Stong, 20, Rikki Olds, 25, and Teri Leiker, 51.

Leiker had worked at King Soopers for roughly 30 years, with her friend Lexi Knutson telling Reuters that Leiker loved working at the grocery store.

“She loved going to work and enjoyed everything about being there,” Knutson told Reuters. “Her boyfriend and her had been good friends and began dating in the fall of 2019. He was working yesterday too. He is alive.”

Olds was a front-end manager at King Soopers, The Denver Post reports. Stong’s profile picture on Facebook was framed with the words: “I can’t stay home, I’m a Grocery Store Worker.”

A representative for Kroger, the parent company of King Soopers, said in a statement to Insider that the company is “horrified and deeply saddened by the senseless violence that occurred at our King Soopers store.”

“The entire Kroger family offers our thoughts, prayers and support to our associates, customers, and the first responders who so bravely responded to this tragic situation,” the statement continued. “We will continue to cooperate with local law enforcement and our store will remain closed during the police investigation.”

Read more: Workers file new sexual-harassment complaints against McDonald’s

Lynn Murray, 62, was shot while visiting the King Soopers as an Instacart shopper. Her husband, John Mackenzie, told The New York Times she had enjoyed working for Instacart after retiring from her career as a photo director.

“She was an amazing woman, probably the kindest person I’ve ever known,” Mackenzie told The Times. “Our lives are ruined, our tomorrows are forever filled with a sorrow that is unimaginable.”

“Violence of any kind has no place in our society,” Instacart founder and CEO Apoorva Mehta said in a social media post on Tuesday. “Our teams are working with law enforcement and the King Soopers team to assist in any way we can. We’ve reached out to the shopper’s family to offer our support & resources during this unimaginably difficult time.”

Mehta added: “For those members of our community who were shopping in the Boulder area, we’re also ensuring they’re able to take the time they need to grieve and recover from yesterday’s tragic events.”

The shooting serves as a stark reminder of the risks that retail workers face on the job.

“For the last year our members and other associates have fought an invisible enemy, COVID-19, but today several innocent souls were killed by an evil human,” Kim Cordova, the president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7, the union that represents employees at the King Soopers store, said in a statement.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Amazon is planning a push into podcast advertising

Good morning and welcome to Insider Advertising for March 12. I’m senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here’s what’s going on:

If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider’s guide to advertising and media.

Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at LJohnson@insider.com or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.


GettyImages 813883140
Jeff Bezos.

Amazon details how the company is ramping up its pitch for podcast advertising dollars

Read the story.


Kasey Jamison, director of sales of large customer category, Instacart

Meet the 14 execs leading Instacart’s push to build an advertising business that rivals Amazon and Walmart

Read the story.


Spherex Teresa Phillips
Spherex CEO Teresa Phillips.

How a tech startup is helping streaming TV services comply with local laws and avoid cultural missteps as they expand internationally

Read the story.


More stories we’re reading:

Thanks for reading and see you on Monday! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

Read the original article on Business Insider

A year into the pandemic, Uber and Lyft drivers say gig companies are still failing them. They blame Prop 22.

GettyImages 1218814557 NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 14: A driver pauses as city employees fill-up cars with take-away meals to be delivered to the elderly and those that can not leave their housing due to the coronavirus at a community center in Brooklyn on April 14, 2020 in New York City, United States. The National Guard joined other New York City city agencies in loading up taxi's, Uber's, Lyft's and other 'for hire' vehicles which have joined the effort in delivering meals across the city. New York has been the hardest hit city in the nation from the COVID-19 outbreak. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Rideshare and food delivery drivers working for companies like DoorDash, Uber, and Instacart have complained the companies aren’t providing PPE or pay for the time it takes them to properly clean their vehicles.

  • Uber and Lyft rideshare and food delivery drivers plan to protest Wednesday at Uber’s headquarters.
  • They say the companies won’t provide PPE or pay them for the time it takes to clean their vehicles.
  • San Francisco supervisor Matt Haney plans to propose a law that would require companies to do both.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Rideshare and food delivery drivers are planning to protest Wednesday outside Uber’s headquarters in San Francisco, California, over what they say is gig companies’ continued failure to protect them nearly a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Drivers for Lyft, Instacart, Uber, and Uber subsidiary Postmates said in a press release announcing the protest that the companies aren’t providing adequate PPE and have refused to pay them for the time it takes to clean their vehicles.

They said that Proposition 22 – an industry-backed law passed in California in November that classified rideshare and food delivery drivers as contractors, excluding them from certain labor protections and restricting the ability of local governments to regulate gig companies – is largely to blame.

“Eleven months into this pandemic and workers are still asking for the most basic life saving protections for themselves, their families and their communities,” Cherri Murphy, a Lyft driver and organizer with Gig Workers Rising, a co-organizer of the protest, said in a statement. 

“It’s really stressful – I’m always being timed when I’m driving for these companies and if I don’t get places quickly, I can be punished. It’s like the companies don’t care about making sure I have enough time to wash my hands, clean my car, and wipe down surfaces,” Lucas Chamberlain, Instacart driver and member of We Drive Progress, another group behind the protest, said in a statement.

Under Prop 22, drivers aren’t paid for the time they spend waiting for Uber or Lyft to find them a ride or delivery order or sanitizing their vehicles in between jobs. Some gig economy researchers have estimated that loophole could allow companies to pay drivers for just 67% of the hours they actually work. 

“Since the COVID-19 crisis began, Lyft has provided tens of thousands of face masks, cleaning supplies and in-car partitions to drivers at no cost to them, and continue to provide access to these supplies today. Our most active drivers also received a free safety kit, consisting of a reusable cloth face covering, sanitizer and disinfectant,” a Lyft spokesperson told Insider, adding that Lyft doesn’t profit off PPE.

Uber told Insider that it has allocated $50 million toward safety supplies for drivers and said it has provided 30 million masks and other cleaning supplies to drivers worldwide.

But while California law requires most companies to provide PPE and sick pay to their employees and to pay into the state’s unemployment insurance program, Prop 22 classified drivers as contractors, allowing gig companies to save far larger amounts by not having to cover those costs. Uber and Lyft drivers last year claimed they’re owed $630 million in back pay as a result of the misclassification. One study found that between 2014 and 2019, the two companies should have paid $413 million into California’s unemployment insurance fund.

Uber spokesperson Kayla Whaling told Insider the company “has tried to do everything we can to support [independent contractors] while they support our communities, including distributing PPE free of charge, providing financial assistance for those who were diagnosed with COVID-19, helping connect them to new work opportunities on Uber or elsewhere, and consolidating information to help them apply for PPP loans or federal unemployment assistance.”

Still, Uber hasn’t always delivered on those promises, and when it has, it’s often only done so following backlash from drivers, regulators, courts, or the media.

Insider reported last April that, despite Uber’s claims it would pay drivers who tested positive for COVID-19, the company had denied legitimate claims and even locked out drivers who requested sick pay.

In July, a federal judge in New York ruled that Uber and Lyft had delayed the state’s ability to pay drivers unemployment benefits because they had played “games” with its requests for earnings data.

Wednesday’s protest – which Gig Workers Rising and We Drive Progress said will include a socially distanced rally – comes as some lawmakers in California are already pushing for more accountability for gig companies who rely on rideshare and delivery drivers.

San Francisco supervisor Matt Haney said he plans to introduce legislation that would require companies like Uber and Lyft to provide PPE and pay drivers for time they spend cleaning their vehicles.

“In the midst of this devastating pandemic, workers have gone above and beyond to protect themselves and our communities by purchasing protective equipment and cleaning supplies and spending their personal time sanitizing their cars to save lives. It is outrageous that while delivery app corporations continue to rake in profits, workers are forced to shoulder these burdens while struggling to make ends meet,” Haney said in a statement.

Do you work at Uber, Lyft, or another food delivery or rideshare app company? We’d love to hear how your company is navigating challenges brought on by the pandemic. Contact this reporter using a non-work device via encrypted messaging app Signal (+1 503-319-3213), email (tsonnemaker@insider.com), or Twitter (@TylerSonnemaker ). We can keep sources anonymous. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Uber and DoorDash are hiking food delivery and rideshare prices for Californians to pay for new driver benefits

DoorDash Biker
DoorDash Biker

  • Uber and DoorDash are raising prices on customers in California in order to pay for new driver benefits guaranteed under Proposition 22.
  • Uber will introduce a flat fee between $0.30 and $2, while DoorDash will slightly increase its service fees. 
  • Drivers will still receive substantially fewer benefits under Prop 22 — a law written and bankrolled by Uber, DoorDash, and other gig companies — than they would have been under the state’s gig work law, AB-5.
  • As a result, the companies’ labor costs won’t increase as much, meaning they likely won’t increase prices as much for consumers, at least initially.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Uber and DoorDash are raising prices for customers in California in order to pay for new benefits guaranteed to rideshare drivers and food delivery couriers under a new statewide law that’s set to go into effect this week.

Uber said Monday it’s introducing a flat fee per purchase that will vary based on customers’ location and the service – between $0.30 to $1.50 for rides and between $0.99 and $2 for Uber Eats deliveries.

DoorDash, rather than a flat fee, will roll out slightly higher service fees starting Wednesday, and may adjust certain promotions, such as DashPass, that could also lead to higher prices, a spokesperson told Business Insider.

The surcharges are intended to help cover the costs of minimum earnings, per-mile expenses, healthcare stipends, accident insurance, and other benefits that rideshare and food delivery companies will soon be required to pay workers.

Those perks became enshrined in California law after voters in November passed Proposition 22 – a controversial law that Uber, DoorDash, Lyft, Instacart, GrubHub, and Postmates authored and spent more than $200 million trying to pass.

The law exempts companies from having to provide rideshare and food delivery drivers with basic employment benefits guaranteed to other Californians under the state’s gig work law, AB-5, and denies certain labor protections to those workers.

Read more: California voters approved Proposition 22, keeping ride-share and food delivery drivers as contractors – here’s what that means for companies like Uber, Lyft, Instacart, DoorDash and their workers

That’s a major victory for rideshare and food delivery companies, which were facing substantially higher labor costs under AB-5 – Uber and Lyft gained a combined $13 billion in market value following Prop 22’s passage. Under Prop 22, those companies are required to provide a smaller array of benefits and often at a lower cost than what they would have had to under existing laws. 

For example, drivers will soon be guaranteed 120% of the minimum hourly wage, but they are only paid for “engaged” hours when they have an active ride or delivery, not the hours they spend returning from long trips or waiting for Uber or DoorDash to match them with a job. According to one study, that could result in drivers not being paid for up to a third of their day.

Drivers will also be compensated $0.30 per-mile for vehicle expenses during engaged time, just half of the $0.58 that the IRS estimates it costs to operate a vehicle per mile. Healthcare subsidies are similarly tied to engaged time and lack significant benefits that come with typical employer-based healthcare.

After AB-5 went into effect this year, Uber, Lyft, and other companies refused to reclassify drivers as employees as required by the law, meaning they never provided the benefits it guaranteed.

As a result, while the partial benefits guaranteed by Prop 22 will cost companies less than those guaranteed under AB-5, they are nonetheless new costs the companies hadn’t previously incorporated into their pricing – thus, the new surcharges from Uber and DoorDash.

Uber has yet to turn a profit in its more than 10-year history, and while DoorDash turned a surprise $23 million profit during the second quarter of 2020, the company said that it expected costs to increase and that it “may not be able to maintain or increase profitability in the future,” which may help explain why the companies are passing off part of these new costs to customers.

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